Coronavirus is recognized as a global pandemic causing lakhs of deaths across the globe. The signs and symptoms of this virus in a person can be seen explicitly or implicitly, and it varies from person to person. Symptoms of COVID-19 start to appear from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Cough is one such explicit early symptom that may indicate the presence of coronavirus in a person’s body. However, there are various types of coughs that are related to various other diseases. Hence, it is important to know the difference between a relatively harmless cough and a corona-virus cough.
People get infected with flu and experience occasional flu which is considered to be safe. However, if you are having an extreme cough that causes a change in the phlegm colour, chest pain, bloody mucus along with fever, tiredness and fatigue, it may be a symptom of some underlying disease. In such a case, you should seek immediate medical assistance.COVID-19 has symptoms similar to that of a basic cold or flu. However, cough is a factor that may help you to differentiate whether you have a normal cough or corona-virus cough.
How to tell if you have COVID-19 cough?
The cough that accompanies COVID-19 is usually dry and leaves you gasping for air. If you are experiencing shortness of breath and muscle pain, the cough may be corona-virus cough. The most common symptoms of coronavirus are a fever with a feeling of having a cold or flu, along with persistent dry cough. Coronavirus affects the respiratory system of the person’s body and infects the lungs and its tissues. As it keeps spreading, the virus fills the lung tissue with fluid, the body struggles for oxygen, resulting in more cough and difficulty in breathing. Most coughs get clear within a week, but if you are coughing continuously for more than a week, consult your doctor. If a person is coughing continuously for over an hour or has 3-4 such coughing incidents in a day, they may be infected with the coronavirus. If you usually have a cough, getting infected will coronavirus may worsen it.
How to recognize dry cough from a wet cough?
A dry cough, also known as non-productive cough causes irritation and throat soreness, resulting in difficulty in breathing as well as swallowing food. This cough starts at the back of the throat, produces a dry, coarse sound and no mucus. Inflammation in your respiratory tract causes a dry cough. This inflammation in the throat can be caused due to viral infections or environmental conditions. More than half of the corona-virus patients reported having experienced dry cough as an important symptom.
A wet cough, on the other hand, produces phlegm and pushes mucus out of your respiratory tract causing a feeling that something is stuck in your throat. A wet cough may also expel blood in the mucus, along with fatigue and runny nose.
Dry and wet cough both differ in the terms of pain, intensity and noise. However, it is seen that dry cough tend to remain for a longer time as compared to wet coughs. Many times, dry cough may turn into a wet cough, depending on the condition.
What to do?
If you are experiencing a consistent dry cough and think there are chances of you getting infected with coronavirus, look for other COVID-19 symptoms like fever, loss of taste or shortness of breath. At the same time, try to minimize the cough with regular medicines or steam. You can also try some home remedies such as drinking turmeric milk or gargling with lukewarm saltwater. Make sure you cough in a closed elbow or cover your mouth with a tissue to avoid the spreading of the infection.
Since dry cough is considered as a primary identifying symptom of coronavirus, it is important to keep an eye on any type of cough you may be experiencing. A dry cough might be a result of other infections like allergies, asthma, tonsillitis, however, it is a symptom of corona-virus cannot be ignored. So whatever type your cough feels like, make sure you see your doctor for diagnosis of the cough to avoid any fatal disease, especially coronavirus.